Rashid Hospital doctors conduct first-of-its-kind spine surgery in UAE

Rashid Hospital doctors succeeded in correcting the degenerative scoliosis of a woman in her 60s using a minimum invasive method used for the first time in the United Arab Emirates.

The woman, an Arab national, was admitted to the hospital complaining from backache and leg pain due to degenerative scoliosis.

Degenerative scoliosis, which usually starts after the age of 50, describes a side-to-side curvature of the spine caused by degeneration of the facet joints and intervertebral discs, which are the moving parts of the spine. This causes backache and excruciating sensations that shoot down the leg, commonly referred to as sciatica, which can make walking difficult or impossible.

"We conducted a two-stage surgery using a new technique called endoscopic assisted oblique lateral interbody fusion. While this method is evolving all over the world, it is the first time in the UAE that this method was used with endoscopy allowing for minimal invasive treatment," said Dr. Najmedden Attabib, Consultant Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery at Rashid Hospital, who conducted the surgery along with the neurosurgical team at Rashid.

Dr. Attabib explained that in the first phase, a small incision is made from the side of the belly and by working in an oblique angle, cages are inserted to correct the curve allowing the foramen to open up and reliving the patient from the pain that was caused by the deformity squashing the nerves. He added that in the second stage, percutaneous pedicle screw insertion was done with minimal invasion so that the bones heal together.

He said that the alternative to the surgery would have been a much more invasive surgery where a big incision is made in the back and front. Such surgeries have a higher morbidity risk, cause more blood to be lost and hence her hospital and healing process would have taken longer.

"The advantages of the surgery conducted is that it is minimally invasive allowing the patient to heal faster. Following the surgery, the patient was happy as the pain she suffered from was relieved and she was discharged shortly afterwards," Dr. Attabib concluded.